Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Black Vulture. Songbirds On The Menu. Condors Ate Lead. Thwarting Squirrels. Project Puffin. Eurasian Pygmy-Owlet. BirdNote: Puffins and Pygmy-Owls! "Teddy" Roosevelt in Panama. Apple Cider Vinegar.


For "Winged Wednesday";

Black Vulture:

"Meet the common, frequently unappreciated, and at times abhorred, Black Vulture.

In Egyptian mythology, the nurturing ways of vultures, in general, led the birds to be respected as sources for maternal inspiration. Priestesses, called mothers, wore robes made of vulture feathers. Early Egyptians believed that vultures would reveal the site of a future battle by appearing there seven days prior to bloodshed, while in other cultures the bird was believed to play a role in releasing the spirit of the deceased to the heavens.

In the early 20th century, ill-founded concerns arose about vultures spreading disease. The birds were killed by the thousands until the 1970s, when their role in the environment became better understood and accepted. Today, Black Vultures are mostly regarded as the beneficial scavengers that they are. (Read about another scavenger that is not faring so well: the California Condor.)

Black Vultures have limited vocal abilities; since they have no syrinx, the vocal organ of birds, they communicate through raspy hisses and grunts. They also lack a keen sense of smell, instead relying on birds that do—such as Turkey Vultures—to lead them to carrion, their main source of food.

Black Vultures are monogamous, staying with their mates for many years, all year round. They maintain strong social bonds with their families throughout their lives and will aggressively prevent non-relatives from joining them at roosts or following them to food sources." Help ABC conserve birds and their habitats!   Range Map by NatureServe.    American Bird Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that conserves native birds and their habitats across the Americas.


Emptying the Skies: Important Film about Songbirds in the Mediterranean

"At American Bird Conservancy, our mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats across the Americas. But every now and then, in an area outside of our geographic focus, an issue arises of such importance that we feel a need to shine a light on it. The ongoing slaughter of songbirds in the Mediterranean is one such issue."

image "To learn more, see “Emptying the Skies,” a film inspired by a New Yorker article penned by award-winning novelist and ABC Board member Jonathan Franzen. The film follows an intrepid group of bird-lovers who risk life and limb to disrupt the poaching of millions of image songbirds trapped to be served as illegal delicacies at restaurants. The bird-lovers free as many birds as possible.

The film premieres in New York City on Nov. 21 as part of the DOC NYC film festival. Jonathan Franzen and producer Roger Kass will participate in the Q&A after the screening."  Get tickets to the New York City premiere





Los Angeles Zoo treats 21 California condors for lead poisoning

LOS ANGELES (KABC) --"A record 21 condors have been taken to the L.A. Zoo for rehabilitation in a two-week period, caught by Fish and Wildlife and testing positive for lead poisoning. Field crews trap condors in the wild twice a year to check their health and to put transmitters on them.

In the wild they are tough, living up to 80 years and surviving primarily on animal carcass. But these California condors now need help.

"Some of them are upwards of 15, 16, 17 years old, and we raised them way back then. To see that it's kind of heartbreaking. Their food is poisoned, so nothing can survive that," Los Angeles Zoo animal keeper Michael Clark said. Clark says he expects more to come in.

"When hunting season starts, there's a lot of waste out there, and that's good news for condors unless of course the hunters are using lead ammunition, then it's bad news. That's probably what happened," Clark said."  More at:


Thwarting Backyard Squirrels

imageTips for outwitting these clever thieves at your bird feeders

"Now, I have nothing against squirrels and wouldn’t mind providing them with food for winter if they just knew when to quit. But they don’t, and they frequently devour all the seed I put out in a matter of hours, if not minutes. To deter them, I’ve placed my bird feeders in an open area, with a metal baffle on the pole. Sometimes, however, a squirrel still gets on those feeders. I confess I’ve sat by a window for a long time watching to see how the animal could possibly get past the “squirrel-proof” baffle.

“The best you can hope for is a squirrel-resistant feeder,” says David Horn, an associate professor of ecology at Millikin University in Illinois. His research includes the study of the feeding of wild birds, and over the years he has learned a thing or two about thwarting squirrels:   More at:

"Things Not To Do: Don’t put grease or petroleum jelly on the feeder pole. “Imagine if that substance was on you,” says Horn. It can coat the fur of a squirrel or get in the feathers of a bird. Also, don’t hang mothballs. They are a registered pesticide and should be used only as directed."


Do you know about Project Puffin?

"This team pioneered a technique called "social attraction" to bring puffins back to Maine, which is now being used to benefit 47 different species of seabirds in 14 countries. Learn the history of the program, how you can get involved, and watch a video featuring Steve Kress. Steve is also the director of the Hog Island Audubon Camp."


Watch this adorable video of an Eurasian Pygmy-Owlet peering out of its nest cavity >>
What about the parent? See another video of this cavity from the side >>



BirdNote: Puffins and Pygmy-Owls!


Upcoming Shows:

Northern Pygmy-Owl SUNDAY Pygmy-Owls' False Eyes by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW

Dr. Stephen Kress  MONDAY Bringing Puffins Back To Maine Featuring Dr. Stephen Kress, Director, Project Puffin   LISTEN NOW

Black-capped Chickadee  TUESDAY Old and New Memories of Black-capped Chickadees - The Work of Fernando Nottebohm by Todd Peterson  LISTEN NOW ►

Green Jay WEDNESDAY The Birding Priest Featuring Fr.Tom Pincelli   LISTEN NOW

Atlantic Puffins THURSDAY Restoring Bird Colonies With Social Attraction Featuring Dr. Stephen Kress, Director, Project Puffin  LISTEN NOW

Rock Pigeons  FRIDAY Asleep on a Perch by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW ►

Bufflehead  SATURDAY Bufflehead Return by Frances Wood  LISTEN


On This Day:

Teddy Roosevelt travels to Panama, Nov 6, 1906:

"On this day in 1906, President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt embarks on a 17-day trip to Panama and Puerto Rico, becoming the first president to make an official diplomatic tour outside of the continental United States.

President Roosevelt visited Panama to check on the progress of the Panama Canal, the construction of which had suffered many setbacks, including worker accidents and disease outbreaks. Roosevelt's tenacious demands for improvements in health care and better working conditions pushed the canal project forward just when it image appeared doomed to failure. His trip to the construction site in 1906 –which included the taking of a November 15 photo of the president himself working the controls of a large steam shovel—helped to boost flagging morale.

Roosevelt's next stop was Puerto Rico, which had become a U.S. protectorate after the Spanish-American War of 1898. In 1900, President William McKinley promised to help establish a civilian government there without becoming an occupying power. McKinley was assassinated in 1901, and Roosevelt, who was then serving as McKinley's vice president became president, inheriting the stewardship of Puerto Rico. In 1906, he traveled to the country to recommend that Puerto Ricans become U.S. citizens. He stopped short of suggesting Puerto Rico become another U.S. state, however, and vowed to allow the island a certain amount of autonomy. (It was not until 1916, under President Woodrow Wilson, that the Jones Act was passed, extending the option of U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans while preserving Puerto Rico's autonomy.)

Although presidents before Roosevelt had traveled outside the U.S. in other diplomatic capacities prior to or after serving as president, Roosevelt was the first to make a "state" visit while in office. His trip to Panama and Puerto Rico signaled a new era in how presidents conducted diplomatic relations with other countries."



Nala, my foster cat, has a bad habit.  When I take a glass of water or juice to have by my bed at night, she wants to drink it.  If it is too low in the glass, she will knock it over to drink it off the nightstand.  Well, I fixed her…  Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar is supposed to keep you healthy, and even lower LDL, the bad cholesterol.  When I remember, I try to have 1-2 teaspoonfuls a day in a drink.  Now, I really remember, as Nala won't drink it.  Two problems solved.image


Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

Readers' Digest:



As neither Ray nor Jay would be here, it gave me the morning to do a couple of errands.  One was to get a new tire to replace the one that is out-of-round, and also to get a couple of cabinets.

Habitat For Humanity has a Restore here, and I was looking for a cabinet for my screen porch, and one for the guest house. The sink cabinet on my porch is really too wide, and the back can be seen through the patio door in the living room.  Anyway, I want to use that sink and cabinet in the greenhouse. It is an old-fashioned porcelain covered metal sink with draining boards on each side of the sink. Then the guest house needs a cabinet that an oven can be built into.

The Restore store used to have masses of cabinets, so I was surprised to see hardly any there.  I was just about to leave when one of the store's helpers said that I could buy a certain set of three white lower cabinets for $25, IF I took them all right away.  The staff would have to move them before the next rain fall, or they would get wet and have to be thrown away.  I measured,  pondered, figured, and saw that I could use them in both places.  As the Formica top was in a big 'L', they cut it, so that it would fit in my van.  The rest of the cabinets stacked in there quite nicely, too.

By the time that was done, I just wanted to get my load home, and worry about the tire another day.

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